Amend the "Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) 1986" legislation mandating the operation of an audible warning devices on reversing vehicles.

These audible warning devices do little for safety but create a cacophony of undesirable noise pollution.

Such devices presume an unwitting person will stand clear. However, if they miss the lorry movement and its engine noise they’ll be oblivious to a loud bleeper, won’t they?

Instead, legislate to install high mounted rear facing camera on heavy vehicles with restricted rear vision so the driver can properly see obstructions.

Why is this idea important?

Noise pollution matters for quality of life.

Greater safety is to be achieve by a rear facing wide angle camera.

49 Replies to “Noise polluting reversing alarms on heavy goods vehicles”

  1. I live 300 metres from a gravel quarry and the main noise pollution from the site is reversing alarms.
    I would be absolutely delighted if reversing alarms were banned.

  2. I live opposite a council grit/road maintenance depot, we are subjected to these infuriating alarms at all hours of day and night – with a recent expansion in operations, during winter we scarcely get a full night’s sleep

  3. I live near a small industrial park. When the industrial bakery started early shifts with reverse beepers, I asked for their help. They stopped overnight – thank you Village Bakery. A new industrial dairy has just been built alongside. 3.15 am shift starts with compressors roaring, by 7.30 its in full “beeper” swing EVERY morning 7 days a week. I tried polite requests. Now environmental health and planning are involved. EH have promised action – watch this space. If one company can be a good neighbour, so can others. If not complain, get the local council involved, if that fails, start a Press campaign – no one wants bad PR!

    1. I live next door to a refrigeration depot and I have had a constant battle with these people. I did contact environmental health and they were helpful; to a point. The company went quiet when I had the data sheet to fill in which shows they can behave. annoying really

  4. I wholeheartedly agree that reversing alarms are the wrong solution to reversing vehicle hazards. I can regularly hear them some 200m away even with windows closed. Given that this is an urban area, that means many others are subjected to this annoying noise pollution.

  5. we have just bought a cottage which stands on the valley side, at abermule in powys, directly opposite a council road maintenance yard. yesterday we were subjected to the sound of the reversing warning alarm on the tipper truck all day long. the yard is situated right next to the main road and the level of the alarm is very loud in order to compensate for the background road noise. it carries clearly through the still air and i have to say that it is a sound that is enough to drive anyone living in the vicinity slightly mad. we will have to sell our house if nothing is done about this noise pollution as i can’t cope with living with it.

  6. Restrictions are already in place for unsociable hours. Please be very careful about how you word this. I agree that further restrictions can be placed upon these bleepers in depots where only authorised adults are allowed to operate; however, their complete banning would be unreasonable.

    When children or the visually impaired are around, the audio warning system is especially valuable. Particularly in tight city areas or school areas. I do however think that the standard bleeping sound is outdated and could be more effective.

    I favour the newer audio warning of “*Beep* Stand Well Clear; Vehicle Reversing” as this informs children to stand clear. I have seen this directly influence children’s actions when they hear a bus sound this alarm.
    Of cause, one problem is the language barrier.

    Please also consider that when trailers or large vehicles involved, visibility for the driver is of cause reduced. Without having some kind of warning, I can see many situations where a driver may unexpectedly reverse into the path of an unsuspecting person or vehicle.

    Cameras may help but are not the answer, they do not offer enough observation for a driver to be able to rely on. Blind spots are an inherent hazard of large vehicles, and always will be. The key is being observant, taking things slowly, and warning people as best as possible.

    Can I also take this opportunity to express a situation which happened to me, and which [to me] emphasises the need for audio warning systems on vehicles.

    As I prepared to reverse out of a car parking space, I repeatedly checked all three mirrors and my side blind spots (this was in a Fiat Punto). And having assessed that I was clear to reverse, I slowly started my manoeuvre. I was instantly greeted by a shout for me to stop from a parent. Had I had been going any quicker I would have reversed the vehicle into a small child.

    What had happened… Towards the end of my checks, between me looking from one mirror to the other, the child had walked past the car, and I of cause could not see the child in the rear view mirror as they were too small. It was a case of bad timing, which could not be helped – but the child did not know that I was reversing, and did not know to look out for an engine noise or reverse light.
    **A point on engine noises; sometimes you cannot hear an engine noise when the engine is at the front (remember that the engine and trailer are separate)**

    I spoke to the parents afterwards, no harm was done, but I let them know that for the future they should walk with their child when walking past parked cars to help prevent a similar situation. The adult’s height [so they could be seen in the mirror] and increased awareness would have prevented the issue.

    I would actually advocate the fitting of audio warning systems to all vehicles; particularly considering the lack of skill which I often see on the roads!

    1. Marvin how about you wear a beeper on your neck every time you drive a car. Don’t put it in the back where you can’t hear it. Have a taste of your own medicine.

    2. Reversing OUT of a drive or onto a main road is illegal. If you have an accident then YOU are liable

    3. If the driver had a camera there wouldn’t be any need. People still ignore bleeps! It’s down to the driver! That and maybe some common sense. I cannot sleep!! Or enjoy my home. You have no idea!!

    4. The audio warning should be in the car/ cab. I have had similar things happen to me. I have been reversing out when the close proximity beeper in the car has started to sound. On one occasion it was because the car driver next to me had started to unload his shopping trolly which had strayed partly behind my car. Could have been a child.

  7. Sorry folks, but reversing alarms are not required by the C&U Regulations. They are fitted on a voluntary basis. The HSE does recommend that they are fitted to prevent accidents while reversing.

    Reg 99 does seem to prevent their use on a “restricted road” between 23:30 and 0700. I do not know what a restricted road is, but I gues wee would call it the public road.

    1. What is reg 99 and where can I get a copy as I am plagued by a newly built distribution centre

  8. I agree wholeheartedly. They are a pestilential nuisance. Any useful purpose they may serve is heavily outweighed by the nuisance and annoyance they cause, especially when used on vehicles that operate on an enclosed site in the middle of a residential area where their penetrating noise can be heard within a radius of at least 600 yards.

  9. I am living 50yds from a building site and this constant beeping for the last six months has damaged the quality of my life!
    This just can not be right! Improved site safety regulations and better awareness training for drivers must save more lives than this ‘GET OUT OF MY WAY’ beeping.
    My car is equipped with reversing sensors – why can’t these be fitted and sound an alarm if anything is in the vicinity ( in the cab and outside!!)

  10. The alarms are illegal according to the guidelines in Health & Safety – all reversing should be factored out as much as possible, and site designs should ensure reversing is not needed.
    I’ve pointed this out hundreds of times to various officials and to Glasgow Shitty Council, who allowed constant alarms near my property – when it was obvious the workers were deliberately moving bricks back & forth just to kill time, and were unable to drive their vehicles correctly. They used my complaints about it to ban me from their noise team services. Due to such things I was forced to move property – and here at Kelvindale railway area they have for months had constant reversing / motion alarms coming from an unknown location. It has ruined my life even more of course, I cannot use my property for anything. And that is atop other also blatantly illegal things stopping me having a normal place to live.
    SEPA guidelines also say the alarms should be directional so they do not broadcast outside the range of where the vehicle is reversing or work is being done. In London the government seem to have recognised it is a very big problem – even if ONE alarm wakes someone up ONCE during the day. In Glasgow they broadcast it all day long. In Greenock they often do same.
    The supermarkets have lorries and vans with proper ‘shhh’ alarms on them so there’s no excuses for not using those types on anything else they have motion / reversing alarms on.
    At the end of the day, the alarms would never be used by anyone sane or anyone with any awareness. It’s just pure common sense not to have something that sounds like that. It’s no different to a vehicle or house alarms going off constantly – and they don’t help with safety as lots of people admit to ‘tuning them out’ ie ignoring them because they are bothering them. When it comes to worker safety it can’t be any help to them either, as the alarms are going off constantly – so what is the difference between ‘safe’ and ‘danger’ then.
    If you are that stupid you need an alarm to remind you what work you are doing, then you are not intelligent enough to be working with heavy machinery in the first place.
    It’s the usual, it is deliberate purposeful abuse. They do it on purpose and make lies up that they have to do it – & when you prove them wrong they bully you and ruin your life even more. And these idiots wonder why terrorists want to bomb their sick culture out of existence, when they can’t even do something as simple and easy and not have extremely harmful & completely unnecessary noise pollution. It’s the usual satanic child-molester conspiracy that does these things, and stops anything being done to stop them – let it continue, same way they all knowingly let the whole satanist cult things go on, and they say nothing about it until it’s way too late. They cause suffering as part of their satanic beliefs, it’s never about stopping anyone being backed over by a truck etc. They know it’s some retarded moonchild satan spawn sounding the alarms, and they just let them keep pressing that button. Plus the workers involved in it are just part of those cults, since they can easily get together and ensure they alarms are turned off and not used. Instead they act like it’s normal for things like that to exist, when nobody normal would agree with them.

  11. Use white noise alarms so only people in danger of being reversed over hear them. Make it law.

  12. I have recently received a copy of this gov you re noise pollution alarms anomasly by someone who has a grudge against me, do you not think that these alarms may stop people who are engrossed in their phones or other unsociable people from being hurt, I think that this funny as we live near an old quarry soon to be re developed, my reversing alarm was fitted to my van when it belongsed to elf, one extra point how about all the vans that are fitted with them that belong to the leading super markets are you going to take it up with these companies

  13. The use of white noise alarms is a cheap sensible solution. I would make these mandatory in all environments where vehicles are constantly reversing in a set pattern.

  14. Excellent idea. I live in a tiny hamlet of fifteen houses and suffer the constant sound of these bleepers from two farms from 6am till dark.

  15. I presume no law has been passed to ban these annoying alarms since there’s comments going back to 2012.
    They really are a disgrace, council, bin men, delivery and construction vehicles all using them and I think it’s unneccessary with the idea of a video rear camera being the best idea. So if someone gets knocked over the council can turn round and say it’s not our fault you should of heard us.

  16. You’re the one reversing, YOU look where you’re going – don’t expect ME to have get out of your way. One can only assume some manufacturer of these devices with a vested interest in selling as many as possible lobbied the government to make them mandatory. Idiocy.

  17. THANK YOU FOR WRITING THIS.

    These “Reversing Alarms” are THE ONE THING which has made me lose almost COMPLETE belief in society and mankind as a whole.

    It is absolutely unexplainable to me how a law that arguably has NO measurable benefit, but on the other hand makes MILLIONS OF SQUARE KILOMETERS OF LAND UNINHABITABLE, can stand for years or decades without anyone taking it down or citizens violently protesting to demand its removal.

    Literally, this idiotic alarm must be HUNDREDS OF TIMES LOUDER than the actual ENGINE NOISE which is ALREADY PRETTY LOUD!

    For example, I live several MILES from a quarry here and while I obviously don’t hear the trucks etc. AT ALL, what I CONSTANTLY HEAR is these RIDICULOUS ALARMS. They are even MORE ridiculous in such a situation because those vehicles are reversing CONSTANTLY, EVERY WORKER ON THE PREMISES KNOWS that they are reversing constantly, and that they are in a DANGER ZONE.

    By CONSTANTLY SOUNDING ALARMS (which get eliminated by the brain for that very reason after a short period of time, while still destroying your eardrums), the ONLY THING that is achieved is making an area of several SQUARE MILES UNINHABITABLE!

    Why don’t business owners just CUT THE DAMN WIRES!?

  18. Thanks for raising this important issue,
    The Reverse Alarm first invented in 1963 when CCTV was not an economic solution.
    We are in the age of autonomous vehicles and wide range of technologies are available to cover the blind points not to mention cheap cameras.
    Using reverse alarm is just an economic choice not a necessity any more and should be banned entirely for the sake of people and the drivers.
    A vehicle driver should be the sole responsible for driving a car backward, by using reasonable monitoring devices, as he is sole responsible for driving it forward.
    It is unbelievable that many children living more than 100 meters away from a reversing vehicle should be disturbed simply because they want to reduce their costs !
    Just Ban it and the industry would provide reasonable solutions.

  19. I am currently on the 19th floor of a flat in Salford..alot of construction going on..the only thing driving me mad Id the constant beep beep beep beep..I think from the site building town houses

    1. Agree with all the above. Noise pollution and its devastating effect on mental heath and sleep is seriously underrated and policed in this country. Noise induced deafness is well known but our children and teenagers are subjected to damaging levels of noise with no enforcement.The problem is just getting worse with increasing population. But who even reads this site and will do anything about it anyway? Its a low priority problem itseems.

  20. I am currently living on the 19th floor of a block of flats in Salford.UK. there is slot of construction which is fine..the only blight is the constant beep beep beep from a site building town houses.. totally spoiling my quality of life.. can’t sit on the balcony or have windows open…I work shifts do it is s nightmare trying to sleep in the day

  21. I’m in central London and over the last 3 years there have been 4 construction sites around me working sometimes till 1am and starting at 6am with reversing trucks unloading. The reversing vehicles in particular mean you can’t be at home in the day as it beeps all day long from sometimes two vehicles at the same time. The have a Manatoo which drives up and down the road. I’ve not really slept much in all this time as I work late at night. Local council has been slow to react and only work 9-5 so can’t deal with noise complaints out of this time unless it’s a party a weekend night.

    If the reversing sensors were replaced with white noise it would make life a lot easier.

    Many people in the area already moved out and new people aren’t moving in due to the noise.

  22. Great idea! I’m currently going mad. It’s constant, it’s giving me a post traumatic disorder. Please make it happen!!

  23. An excellent idea. I live several hundred metres from a plant hire firm. Since upgrading their vehicles some months ago, the constant all-day “beep beep” from their reversing HGVs is, without exaggeration, ruining my life.

  24. Yusen Logistics have just started 24hr operations from a vast shed one mile from our village. The artics which come and go all ‘beep’ briefly when reversing, but the main nuisance is from their particularly noisy shunter’s beep when it moves the containers around during the small hours. It is a controlled gated fenced off area so it would be almost impossible for an unaware or vulnerable child or adult to be present, let alone at risk. Reg 99 (no beeps 2330 to 0700 on restricted roads) needs the word ‘anywhere’ substituted for ‘on restricted roads’.

  25. The situation with Covid 19 must surely have raised thie ssue of this nuisance again for many people. So many of us are now working from home. I can hear the incessant ‘beep beep beep’ of a reversing alarm from 7 am ALL DAY. It is driving me insane and making it very, very difficult for me to work. I find it odd that several people in the comments above have complained that the alarms carry for 200metres or 600 yards and so on. I am sure it is much, much further than that. I live in a densely populated city, so this alarm must be annoying hundreds, probably thousands of people, in order to warn a hypothetical person a few feet behind the vehicle? This is utter madness. My car (most cars these days) has sensors that warn me (ME, the driver) if anyone is behind me – plus I have a camera. The reversing alarm needs to be banned!

  26. I live half a mile from a site for new housing so they will be building here for months or even years. All I can hear every day other than weekends is the reversing alarms from the construction traffic and it is driving me insane. I have written to Barrett’s the developers and of course even though they talk a good environment job on their website they have not even bothered to reply to my letter. It seems ironic that the reversing alarms are part of an HSE policy but the “E” is for environment and the noise is polluting the environment. There are better ways than alarms such as one way systems, barricading, banksman, etc. even white noise alarms are less intrusive and more effective at lower dB. Why do I need to know in my garden half a mile away that a construction truck is reversing?

    1. The “E” stands for executive. The have no interest in the environment other than as it relates to the workplace.

  27. I live next to the railway, and have track work taking place. Every vehicle has standard reversing alarms currently this is active between midnight and 6 am. As of the 25th this will be 24 hrs for 6 days. Anyone who believes that this is necessary is an idiot. Rail track guidelines state white noise soft tone reversing alarms only should be used overnight. but complaints are ignored. The law needs changing.

  28. My life has been miserable since moving into my flat for the past year. In the bedrooms it’s the constant sound of beeping trucks and lorries, all day long. I can’t imagine what they could possibly be doing to be going backwards and forwards constantly, all day, but it’s driving me utterly insane. I understand the need to alert people of a reversing vehicle, but why does it need to be a sound that broadcasts for a mile in every direction? Why does the entire town need to know they’re reversing?

    The scraping sound (Tesco deliveries seem to have it), or the “caution, I am reversing” voice recording are nowhere near as obnoxious or long range. The beeping should be banned in favour of these, or nothing at all. It’s completely beyond reason as it is.

    Just here to vent. I was hoping there would be a big movement against this noise pollution, but I see this was posted ten years ago, so not too hopeful.

  29. There are 11,000,000 who are deaf or hard of hearing in Britain so unlikly hear these allarms so why do the rest of the 55,000,000 people in the country have to put up with this unnesesary noise. the operator should be responsible for their actions and drive safely.
    When are they going to be banned!!!!

  30. This noise situation has just got far worse. The new Amazon-branded vans that have appeared in our area in the last few weeks have an incredibly loud reverse beep.

    This echoes loudly around the small, quiet estate – off the blocks of flats, and on the side of the buildings where everyone’s bedrooms and sitting rooms are.

    On this car park side we only normally suffer reverse beeps from bin lorries and if someone buys furniture being delivered in a lorry. Normal “white vans” don’t beep and they avoid much reversing by turning around.

    Given the prevalence of Amazon in Covid, their vans are coming multiple times a day – we now realise this with the branding. To add to it, instead of delivering multiple parcels whilst stopped, they drive the 15 yards between each block to do them in turn. This maximises the distance they then reverse and beep down the length of the estate, echoing all the way – they don’t seem to turn around part way.

    Their engines were already loud enough to hear them with our flat windows closed. Bring back the white non-branded non-beeping vans they had before!

    I found this site while trying to find somewhere on the Amazon website to flag this, but of course the search just tries to sell me van beepers on Amazon…

    Amazon has been a godsend for many of us in Covid – we just don’t need reminding of it at dB, all the time. It’s enough to make you order from elsewhere just to avoid their vans beeping!

  31. I live on a new build opposite the construction of the other half of the estate which has been going on all year. The reverse beeping is now my most hated sound especially as I’ve been working from home the entire time. It’s constant and so unnecessary vs all the other building noises which are mostly unavoidable. A change in this law would prevent the detriment of millions of peoples lives but makes far to much sense for it to be passed in government.

  32. Has anyone gotten anywhere with stopping a company using these alarms at night? Would really just like to sleep. And not have to sell the house I bought and lived in for 12 months before they decided that they wanted a crane with a constant siren and to use it at night.

  33. I live adjacent to a new Business Park that has been under construction for 10 years now.

    I am currently trying to enter into dialogue with Barnfield Construction, of Leeds, re- reversing alarms.
    They are working on levelling a large a site near me with just three vehicles, one is a small tractor that moves back and forth all day long beep, beep, beep while filling up the large dump truck. There is a bigger excavator which I haven`t seen move very much at all.
    There are very few personnel on site, none of whom seem to wander around the site. These guys wear ear defenders!!!!!
    HSE advise or recommend the use of revering bleeps, however it is not mandatory and the bleeps can easily be switched on and off. I suggest HSE assess each scenario separately rather than a blanket recommendation. Some of the contractors on other site s on the Park have agreed to turn their alarms off unless really necessary. Barnfield however are not entering into dialogue at this stage.

    I see absolutely no point having a reversing bleep in action on a closed secure site where a tractor is simply filling a truck all day. I assume the few personnel on site are able bodied, sighted and well trained.

    I have spoken to Environmental health but it sounds like a slow process to get anything done by them.
    I am going for the contact company directors approach and trying to educate them as to the harm they are doing and the alternative devices that available these days, such as white noise …

    1. An update to my previous comment.

      Barnfield construction have implemented white noise reversing alarms on all their equipment in use near me.

      Thank you Barnfield keep up the good work on all your sites.

  34. Kate
    Go to the website of the company causing the noise and find out who the bosses are and email them.
    Be polite and factually correct, supply everyone with film or recordings if possible.
    Google CEO of what ever company is causing the problem email him direct or cc him when you contact people lower down the chain. That will focus them.
    They probably won`t have their email addresses published apart from a general info@ … which may as well be a dustbin, but there is usually a formula used through out the company. i.e j. bloggs @……co.uk or joe. bloggs@ …. if it isn`t delivered it will just bounce back and you can try a different formula. always contact (cc) two or more people in the same email so that discussions will occur.

    Make sure as many people as poss complain in writing (email is fine)
    I stood outside the plant handing out flyers containing contact details for complainants to use and even delivered some leaflets to nearby homes.
    If that fails, get in touch with your MP. He will wake everyone up and all your correspondence can be examined (don`t delete any emails)

    Good luck
    I hope one day reversing alarms are banned! they are stupid if you need an alarm to tell you a vehicle is coming towards you we would have them as they move forward too.

  35. The noise of bleeping reversing alarms could possibly be construed as a public or statuary nuisance.
    Complain to the offender. If that doesn’t work
    Complain to the environmental health officer, if that doesn`t work apply to the magistrates court stating that you wish to make a complaint under section 82 of the Environmental Protection act 1990.
    This need not cost any money.

    Keep logs and gather evidence to present to the court.
    Gather names and addresses of other people affected

    Grounds for complaint…
    If the noise spoils the enjoyment of your own property
    If the noise disturbs your sleep.
    The noise spoils the enjoyment of the footpaths and surrounding areas.

    State the type of area you live in .. If it is a quiet rural area there is a stronger case than in a city.

    See the, 21 Moorfield Project (internet)

    I am sure one day the bleeps will be a thing of the past but the pressure needs to be brought to bare on the companies that are too lazy or too tight to retro fit broad band sound alarms to their vehicles. Broad band Alarms are safer and more effective for every one, while also reducing disturbance and subsequent complaints
    It is in the offenders interest to keep up to date as one day councils etc will only engage companies that don`t use bleeping reversing alarms.

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